Brett Goldin Award winners

17 June 2010

'Besides enhancing their own performances these actors have brought back to South Africa their passion for Shakespeare'

Two young South African actors head to RSC with prestigious Brett Goldin awards

Four years after the murder of South African actor Brett Goldin, his memory was once again honoured when Josette Eales (26) and Thato Moraka (25) were announced the latest winners of the Brett Goldin Bursary for 2010, at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.

Denise Goldin, mother of the late Brett, said: "My family and I are deeply honoured that Brett's memory continues to be upheld with the incredible success of this unique opportunity and it has been a joy to see how it has benefited the young actors who have been through the programme. Besides enhancing their own performances these actors have brought back to South Africa their passion for Shakespeare and positively used this to encourage and inspire upcoming actors to share their love of Shakespeare. I would like to congratulate Josette and Thato, who are both superb young actors, on becoming the latest recipients of this important bursary."

The bursary was set up immediately after the young actor and his friend, fashion designer Richard Bloom, both 28, were murdered over the Easter weekend on April 16, four years ago, just days before he was due to leave for Stratford-upon-Avon. Goldin was due to perform the role of Guildenstern in the Baxter's production of Hamlet, directed by Janet Suzman, which launched the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival. The double murder sent shockwaves throughout South Africa and England.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Actors Centre and the Baxter Theatre Centre established the bursary, which was kick-started by donations from respected South African-born actors Sir Antony Sher and Honorary RSC Associate Janet Suzman, to give other young actors the opportunity which Brett was denied, and to honour his memory in an appropriate manner.

Eales and Moraka were chosen from seven finalists and a shortlist of 17 actors (out of nearly 80 applicants countrywide) who took part in the two-day audition process at the Market Theatre. Of the ten female and seven male actors short-listed, seven of the actors are from Johannesburg, six from Cape Town, and one each from Durban, Pretoria, Grahamstown and Port St Johns.

Theatre luminaries Dorothy Ann Gould, who helped to establish the bursary and has been involved since its inception, James Ngcobo and David Dennis made up this year's panel of judges. Denise Goldin, mother of the slain actor, Malcolm Purkey, Artistic Director of the Market Theatre and Nicolette Moses, Associate Producer and Planning Manager at the Baxter Theatre Centre, joined them for the final round.

The bursary is designed to enhance and fine-tune actors who are committed to the need and desire to expand their knowledge and acting ability of Shakespeare. Furthermore, it is essential that they are willing, on their return, to use the skills gained to enthuse and encourage others, towards a love and understanding of Shakespeare. Winners will be chosen according to their talent for Shakespeare performance, passion, commitment and overall suitability.

The two successful bursars will be based at the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, from 18 June to 19 July.

The work programme will include activities such as attending warm-ups, solo and company voice and verse classes, any Artist Development workshops rehearsals and technical rehearsals, as well as sessions with directors and assistant directors and the opportunity to attend Education Department workshops.

The successful candidates will be based in the Artist Development Department and it is hoped that much of the learning experience will come from observation, discussion with personnel working in production, press and casting departments and through contact with other actors, directors and members of the RSC.

The selection criteria stipulate that the actors should be South African citizens, between the ages of 20 and 30 in June 2010, have an interest in classic theatre, have a valid passport and be able to fly to Stratford during the stated period, as dates are strictly not negotiable.

Omphile Molusi became the first recipient of the bursary in 2007 and in 2008 Thami Mbongo and Nicholas Pauling were chosen from nine finalists. All three actors performed last year in the highly acclaimed The Tempest which marked the second collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

For further information on the RSC's participation in the Bursary, please contact Philippa Harland, RSC Head of Press on or 020 7845 0512

If you would like to contribute to the Brett Goldin Bursary, please send your cheques made payable to Royal Shakespeare Company to:

The Brett Goldin Bursary c/o Amanda Carroll
Royal Shakespeare Company
Courtyard Theatre
CV37 6BB

Please mark your cheque on the reverse 'Brett Goldin Bursary'.

A picture is available on request from the RSC Press Office.

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